Traffic Calming

The Official City of Ottawa terminology for this is “Area Traffic Management (ATM)” and includes the issues of slowing down cars as well as reducing the volume of cars that may be using a neighbourhood‟s streets as shortcuts rather than travelling on the more major arterial streets. For the past several years up to 2011 there had been virtually no money available at the City for implementing new traffic calming measures even though there is a huge backlog of areas already identified for calming. Finally in the 2012 City budget, 2.5m$ has been earmarked for implementation of traffic calming measures. Of this amount, 100K$ has been designated to implement 2 traffic calming measures in Sandy Hill. The first of these involves adding textured crosswalks on the King Edward/Osgoode St intersection and the second involves implementing 2 midblock street narrowings on Range Rd.

A traffic calming plan was completed for Sandy Hill in 1992 and the typical process has been for the City to implement the proposed calming measures (usually roadway narrowings at intersections or mid-block) incrementally whenever road reconstruction occurs on a street identified for calming. For example some of these measures were implemented on Sweetland and Nelson around Sandy Hill park in 2009 when the park was under renovation. Others were implemented on Friel street in 2010 as part of the process for mitigating the impact of detours of the King Edward avenue reconstruction during the summer of 2010.

Roadway narrowings are considered by the City as effective in slowing down cars because they have some effect on reducing the perception of the width of the street. Other measures such as adding new 4-way stops and speed humps are considered more drastic because they have some undesireable side effects such as creating more noise as cars accelerate/slow down and complicating snow removal operations. In general, a strong case needs to be made before such measures are considered. Still other measures such as adding divertors at street intersections that stop flow straight through an intersection and force cars to “detour” are considered even more drastic as they disrupt traffic flows within a neighbourhood. They are effective at discouraging speed and especially cut-through traffic but they complicate the routing for residents driving to/from home and often involve shifting traffic from some streets to nearby others. As a result it is difficult to find universal support for implementing “divertors” within a community.

In 2010 a group of residents mobilized to do some traffic studies within Sandy Hill attempting to quantify the level of cut-through traffic on certain high traffic streets (Range Road, Mann Avenue, Chapel St, Friel St.). We have long known that these streets carry high amounts of non-local traffic especially cars attempting to bypass congestion on King Edward and Rideau streets. We wanted to know more about how serious the problem is. The results of this “licence plate monitoring” study were presented to the traffic calming department at the City and comparisons were made to a similar such study performed by the City in 1992.

More information is available from the City on “Area Traffic Management.”

A scanned copy (jpeg) of the results of a traffic study performed by City staff in 1992 can be found here.

A copy of the results of the informal traffic monitoring performed by a number of Sandy Hill residents in spring of 2010 can be found here (pdf).


Last Updated: 28-Sept-2012